While 2019 didn’t give me as many new albums to get truly excited about as a normal year would, the silver lining is that there also wasn’t much that I truly hated, either. I’d say most of the stuff I listened to this year ranged from “promising but flawed” to “moderately disappointing”, with only a few albums standing out for eliciting overly negative emotional reactions from me. Notably, these are all releases from artists I’ve enjoyed in some capacity in the past – I don’t make these lists to pick on easy targets or styles of music that would have been outside my wheelhouse to begin with. Here are the few 2019 releases that I would wholeheartedly recommend avoiding at all costs (and where applicable, embedded audio/video for the rare songs from these albums that I actually did enjoy).Continue reading
Here are the albums that I had the toughest time making it all the way through in 2018. At the top of the list are the merely mediocre records that I almost wanted to rescue from the “dishonorable” pile, but that just didn’t have enough good to outweigh the bad. As you get further down, the list gets more and more abysmal, to the point where I can’t even come up with a track highlight to make a case for why it’s not all bad.
These are the albums that just plain did not do it for me in 2017. I really tried to listen to all of these with an open mind. I can see why other people like them, in most circumstances. Some of them are intriguing and well-crafted works of art that I just found really boring to listen to. Some are at least unique creative expressions, albeit really irritating ones. Others are shameless commercial trash, and/or sad attempts to revive a band’s long-gone glory days. In all cases, I’ve linked to the audio or video of a song that I genuinely liked, or at the very least found tolerable.
In Brief: Incubus returns to making actual rock music, which would have been a nice change following the lifeless If Not Now, When?, but subpar songwriting and bone-headed repetition kill off most of the creative spark this band once displayed. There are a few bits of experimentation here and there, but don’t hold your breath for anything fascinating in the exploratory department.Continue reading
Artist: Linkin Park
Album: One More Light
In Brief: The problem with Linkin Park’s seventh album isn’t that it’s mellow and poppy. The problem is that it’s stubbornly, maddeningly generic, which is not something I could say about even the absolute worst songs on their previous albums.Continue reading
Here’s the stuff that just didn’t do it for me this year. With one or two exceptions, I don’t listen to these artists expecting their music to be bad… I’ve heard at least a little something I enjoyed from everyone on this list in the past. Some of them just got lazy this year, while others seem aggressively committed to being the most obnoxiously lowest-common-denominator version of themselves that they can be. Neither of those things will land you on the good side of my year-end list-making bonanza. Having said that, I’ve made a good faith effort to embed a song I kinda liked from each of these albums, just to show that these records aren’t all bad.
Before I get to the albums that got me most excited this year, I figured I should take a quick look back at the albums that were so disappointing that it was hard for me to even muster up the courage to give them a second listen. Of course I did eventually go back to these records to see if a little time and more carefully managed expectations would change my perception of these them, but for the most part, they failed to deliver. Not everything about these records is bad, and the worst of the bunch merits a D minus rather than a hard F in my book, so I’ve certainly heard worse in previous years. I’ve also heard something genuinely enjoyable from everyone on this list in previous years (or in one case, this year). But I can safely say that all of these artists fell short of their potential this time around.
Artist: Relient K
Album: Collapsible Lung
In Brief: I believe Relient K could make an excellent pop album. Unfortunately, this is not that album. Collapsible Lung is easily the band’s worst so far.Continue reading
Artist: Sigur Rós
In Brief: A long, drawn-out, sad disappointment of a record. This is NOT how a band should return from a four-year hiatus.Continue reading
In Brief: A maddening and largely unlistenable album, despite several highlights. Unless you find every sound that Björk makes to be infinitely fascinating, avoid Medúlla at all costs.Continue reading